Medically reviewed by Dr. Riaz Ali Shah.
If you are someone who likes everything in its perfect place, can’t stand an undone bed, or don’t like dishes to stay in the sink for long, it’s very likely that you’ve been told that you have OCD. But, to your relief, and not so much for the actual sufferers, it really isn’t that simple. The real condition, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can actually make you go crazy! So, let’s read ahead to find out how this disease can affect an individual’s life.
The Real Deal behind OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a type of anxiety disorder in which the suffering individual experiences obsessive thoughts that may or may not make them do things repetitively (compulsions).
Obsessions are the recurrent and persistent thoughts, images or impulses that can cause feelings of anxiety, distress or disgust. These thoughts are extremely irrational and unreasonable, and despite the individual being able to recognize that, logic and explanation is not enough to suppress them. The sufferers usually try to overpower these thoughts by thinking about other things, but they are so interfering that they won’t stop taking over. Typical obsessions are excessive concerns about contamination or harm, the need for exactness or forbidden sexual or religious thoughts.
Certain acts that a person may feel driven to perform in response to the obsessive thoughts are compulsions. These are repetitive behaviors that are only aimed at preventing or reducing stress or fear associated with the thoughts. For example, when the intrusive thoughts are constantly making an individual feel fearful that the gas on the stove is on or the door isn’t locked, they will cyclically check the stove and the door despite knowing that everything is okay. The urge to perform that certain act is so strong, it’s unbelievable!
But this isn’t where it ends. The intrusive thoughts associated with OCD are different in each case, therefore divided into several types. While some people are constantly turning on and off a light switch, others are afraid that something bad will happen if a pair of shoes isn’t in its correct order or won’t shake hands with anyone because of their extreme fear of contamination. Some people may not present with compulsions and it’s just the obsessive thoughts that trigger their anxiety. These thoughts are automatic and usually focus on sexuality, religion, relationships, and violence. It can get so bad that normal everyday tasks turn into mountains and they start lacking behind.
You Can Help Yourself
The treatment of anxiety disorders doesn’t always result in a cure, but it can lower down the symptoms and make one get a better understanding and hold of their anxiety. These treatment options are:
Cognitive behavior therapy or CBT – A form of psychotherapy in which the suffering individual is taught of ways to cope with their fears and are gradually exposed to things that cause them. Certain exercises, techniques, and assignments are given to be able to get a hold of irrational thoughts and behaviors.
Medication– certain psychiatric medicines, either antidepressants or ant anxiolytics are prescribed by doctors to help control obsessions and compulsions. However, since there are many side effects of these meds, it’s better to seek therapy and only take medication on your doctor’s order.
The examples of OCD we come across through our media are shown in such a humorous fashion that the seriousness of this disease is overlooked. So, if someone around you is showing any of the above-mentioned signs, realize that they are not ‘crazy’ or ‘nafsiyati’, but just someone battling with a disease that can very well be taken care of. Let’s understand to be understood!
Guest Post Credit: Dr. Maleeha Syed